It's hard to think that a band that has been around since 1987 has only put out 3 albums. Cynic is on their third album (and fifth release), Kindly Bent To Free Us. To those who have followed the band, Cynic has been progressively getting lighter and lighter over their years, especially since their return in 2006. Kindly Bent To Free us is much more of an experimental album than the two done previously. It divulges more into Progressive Rock and Jazz Fusion this time around. though this may sway some loyal fans to back away with it's lack of overall Metal, it is still a very profound album when given the chance.
The album starts with True Hallucination Speak. The song slowly fades in then kicks off with a grand opening. The main riff is very proggy and technical, while more Prog Rock, it still sounds very much like Cynic. The song rumbles through quite strong till around the middle where it breaks into just vocals and guitar. After this it rolls right along till the end where it fades away with some synth sounds ending the track leading right into the next song, The Lion's Roar. Arguably one of the catchiest songs on the album. The song would fit right at home with something on Top 40 Hard Rock Radio. Just like the rest of the album, Paul Masvidal's clean vocals make this song shine (there is no screams or growls and very minimal, vocoder on the entire album). Towards the end of the song it reaches one of the highlights of the album, when the double bass kicks in and the whole song feels like it soars above the heavens above. The song also fades in the end leading into the title track. Kindly Bent To Free Us starts off with just synth sounds and vocals before kicking into a riff that sounds like it was recorded straight from the days of Focus, while having that feel of Traced In Air. There's not much variance in this song, just a straight up great song from beginning to end, and another fade out song. Infinite Shapes is next and starts with just guitar and bass. When everything kicks in, it has a great heavy feel to it, before quietly going back down again. Very mellow and relaxed until the chorus hits when one of the best drummers in Metal, Sean Reinert, shows off his great display of tom work and complicated, yet perfectly placed, rhythms. (a great signature of his). A fantastic display from everyone in the band. Moon Heart Sun Head comes up next and starts off with a great guitar riff from Masvidal. The song is one of the more different songs on the album with a lot of dynamics. From excelled tom rhythms to very proggy and heavy guitar riffs, this song showcases all of what the band is capable of now a days. Gitanjali starts off a lot like some of the better tracks on Traced In Air, with a fade in of a killer riff. It's easily one of the heavier songs on the album. It does feel like a song from Traced In Air throughout, which is definitely a great thing. Holy Fallout may be the best song on the album. It is indeed the longest song on the album, yet it feels like it flies by. To put it simply, this song showcases everything Cynic is about in one song. The tribal drumming mixed with beautiful soundscape, yet not being afraid to keep things heavy in all the right spots. It feels like the perfect song to end a live set before going into encores. Endlessly Bountiful closes out the album. The song slowly soars in, but instead of getting heavy (or even having drums for that matter) it stays very ethereal and atmospheric. Just synths, guitar, vocals, and bass. Its the type of song that feels like a flight angels take from the earth into the sky above. The song ends with acoustic guitar drifting away to close the album.
Kindly Bent To Free Us is a bit of a polarizing album. It doesn't have the feel of the heaviness of Focus nor Traced In Air, and is more inclined to their EP, Carbon Based Anatomy, but more heavy in spots. Some people's major problem with the album (besides the lack of Metal) is the lyrics. If you are not a fan of abstract poetry, this album will whiz over your head. A better idea to fully appreciate this album is to focus on the vocal melodies instead. Those are still pure Cynic to a T. Masvidal, Reinert, and bassist Sean Malone (who is actually touring with the band for the first time since 1994) all 3 of the best musicians that the music world will ever know. While this time around the Metal isn't there, they still create some of the most beautiful and optimistic music that a metalhead can appreciate.
Cynic- Kindly Bent To Free Us available NOW via Seasons Of Mist
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)